Blow to coast counties as Odinga backs adoption of controversial revenue allocation formula

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Mombasa governor Hassan Joho during a past rally .PHOTO file

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has backed the adoption of the controversial Commission for Revenue Allocation formulae that has caused a standoff between senators.

In a statement, Mr. Odinga said that there is a need for the senate to unlock the impasse pointing that the stalemate has had negative impact on other issues of national importance including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate is set to debate the issue on Tuesday after failing to agree on the formulae adoption last week.

“This stand-off is causing paralysis and mistrust at a time the country needs to be united and singularly focused on tackling the grave pandemic currently threatening the lives and livelihoods of our people. It has also taken a dangerous ethnic undertone instead of being a level-headed debate on the nation’s development trajectory. “Odinga said 

Last week there was a heated exchange of words in the senate after a section of senators expressed dissatisfaction at speaker Lusaka’s postponement of the debate.

The senators accused Lusaka of frustrating efforts to find an amicable solution on the matter after it emerged that the mover of the issue was not in the chamber.

If this formula is adopted which settles on population principle rather than landmass, coastal counties will have their revenue slashed by a whopping seven billion shillings.

A snippet of losses indicates that Kwale county will lose Sh1.2 billion and Kilifi Sh1.1 billion.

Mombasa will lose (Sh682 million), and TanaTiver loses sh499 million.

Worst hit counties include. Mandera which will lose Sh2.09 billion, Wajir will forgo a whooping  Sh1.4 billion.

The beneficiary counties include Kiambu which will gain (Sh1.3 billion), Nairobi (Sh1.2 billion), Uasin Gishu (Sh923 million), Nandi (Sh788 million), Kajiado (Sh765 million), Nakuru (Sh744 million) and Laikipia Sh660 million).

Senators drawn from these counties including Kilifi senator Stewart Madzayo, Mombasa senator Mohammed Faki, Isiolo senator Fatuma Dullo, Kisii senator Prof Sam Ongeri, Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina among others have vehemently opposed this push terming it improper.

They argue that it is incorrect to deduct funds from counties that are adversely underdeveloped and hit by abject poverty vowing to oppose the formula to the end because it will affect devolution.

He pointed that revenue sharing formula that the Senate has deadlocked over is a  variation of what was recommended by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA), the body mandated under Article 216 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya, to come up with a formula.

“The key principle in the CRA recommendation on the third basis for revenue sharing for the next five financial years is that allocation should be population-driven. The CRA recommendation is based on an understanding that county governments are about service requirements of the population including in health, agriculture, infrastructure, education, among others. “Odinga said 

He argues that the Senate made certain amendments to the CRA recommendation but equally retained the central principle that allocation must be about the population. 

“Unfortunately, the institution has disagreed on its own amendments,”Odinga said.

He said that under the circumstances, the country and people would better be served if the formulae are adopted as per the recommendation of the CRA for the next five years.

He added that in order to avoid a similar stand-off next time, the concerns currently arising should be forwarded to the CRA for consideration in its future recommendation.

It is not yet clear how senators in the region that has largely been viewed as an ODM stronghold will react,